Ananda Family News

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Highlights of Our Pre-Christmas Activities

1. Christmas Concert, 7th December

Our annual Christmas concert was a most exquisite treat for our soul and heart.

The choir sang old medieval pieces such as Gaudete, British and French Christmas carols from the 16th century, pieces from Mendelssohn, Bach, a new composer Sir John Taverner and, of course, Swami’s compositions.

There were many excellent solos, duets and quartets accompanied by the whole choir and beautifully performed trumpet, violin, guitar and piano solos. Listen here for recordings and video.

Many visitors commented that they felt so much joy, warmth and appreciation for the music, the singers and musicians.

2. Members’ Christmas Parties at Chela Bhavan, 13th/14th December

For many members this is their favorite event!

We all sat around a beautiful decorated Christmas tree with “Nayaswami-blue” Christmas lights, chatted, shared the food we brought and sang a wonderful list of old as well as modern Christmas carols.

 We were all deeply touched by the sacredness of the Christmas songs and were filled with the spirit of love, warmth and friendship (more pictures here).

3. Master’s All-Day Christmas Meditation, 20th December

On Saturday we had our 8-hour Christmas Meditation which included beautiful music and talks from Swami and Master. The temple was packed with many people enjoying this sacred tradition.

4. Carol Singing in the Neighborhood, 21st December

With flashlights armed we followed Asha’s bicycle trail and sang one carol after another while walking arm in arm, chuckling and marveling at the Christmas light decorations of our neighbors. At every house our neighbors’ eyes and faces lightened up while they listened to the carols. Some neighbors joined us and some offered us some chocolate and biscuits. At the end of our carol singing tour we stood in front of one house where an old lady seemingly living alone, had just returned from hospital standing in her dressing gown in the doorway with tears running down while we were singing a couple of carols.

What a wonderful blessing that we had the opportunity to touch so many hearts including those who very much needed it.

wishing you all

Merry Christmas
Bon Natale
मैरी क्रिसमस
(Mairī krisamasa)

with Love & Joy in Master


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

East West Appreciation Night

On Tuesday, the 2nd of December, we had a special evening at East West Bookshop: we celebrated the existence of this special store and our gratitude to our customers and all members of the staff, with talks from David, Asha, Santosh and Tandava, accompanied by a tasty buffet and beautifully played piano music by Todd.

The talks reflected upon the importance of this special place in our lives, our community, and the Bay Area, and also on it’s nation-wide impact as one of the largest New Age, metaphysical bookshops. For three decades the store has been a platform both to convey Master’s teachings and to be genuinely universal in providing a wide spectrum of spiritual books for those seeking Truth and Self-realization.

Asha and David expressed their gratitude to the store’s dedicated and creative staff who do so much more than just selling books, crystals, music and other merchandise. They continuously have followed Swami’s advice to “just love your customers’’ and have kept creating a bookshop with great commitment and energy to meet the needs of its customers. Thus, they developed a place, where people could come to “know themselves and find their own ray of that true light” as descibed by Santosh, one of the longest serving members of the staff.

The evening included a great appreciation for the many customers who support the store by shopping, taking part in the many different programs, interacting with staff members and discovering Ananda and Yogananda’s teachings. David and Tandava pointed out that the store has been a family and community where people find “spiritual sustenance,” new genuine friends, insights, guidance and healing.

Asha recalled how Swami bought the bookshop in 1980 and how he intuitively knew that this was the right decision, commenting to her that “good decisions do not take time, but they take energy.”

The purchase of the bookshop caused Ananda to move in this area resulting in many more activities and enterprises aiming to “revamp a whole culture, to show how Master’s teachings, creatively applied, can change the entire pattern of society.” Swamiji continued that “I am just one person, and there is only so much I can accomplish by myself. If I can start a movement, however, and many people begin to act creatively from inner inspiration, as I have, then a great work can be done.”*

Click here for more pictures and listen to the talks.

in Master’s light,


* P.S. Quote is from Asha’s book Swami Kriyananda: As We Have Known Him, p. 238

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving Celebration

Our Thanksgiving celebration was a wonderful treat for our soul, mind, heart and palate.

The morning started with a one hour meditation and followed with a moving sermon taking us on a journey highlighting the history of this auspicious holiday with the speech of Abraham Lincoln declaring this day of “… thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father, to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as consistent with the Divine Purpose to full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and union.”

Throughout the sermon Shanti as well as Jyotish and Devi (broadcasted from Pune, India) reminded us of the meaning and feeling of thanksgiving and the importance of holding gratitude in our thoughts and hearts for God, our line of Gurus, Saints, our families and community.

The sermon ended with a beautiful prayer from St. Teresa d’Avila:

“May there be peace within, may you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing that you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into our bones and allow your soul the freedom to sing and dance, to praise and love. It is there for each and every one for you.”

We were then treated to a wonderful delicious lunch which included a very tasty salad, nut loaf with golden gravy, roasted vegetable medley, mashed potatoes, cranberry orange compote, persimmon pudding and pumpkin pie.

During lunch we enjoyed a superb, lighthearted and funny entertainment, which included a joyfully performed Shakespearean talk and song, a well-presented reading of P.G. Wodehouse’s “The Fiery Wooing of Mordred,” from the collection Young Men in Spats, and ended with the debut of our own Ananda-“Elvis” with a creative and funny rhymed song instructing everybody to help to clean up.

After much laughter, the heartfelt warm family gathering ended with Asha’s brief talk encouraging us to be open and receptive to participate and engage in the forthcoming Christmas festivities as much as we can, as “there is a special kind of blessing in the air that all of us can really take part in and find our lives significantly changed by it.”

In Master’s Joy & Blessings


P. S. The rest of the photos are here.

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